SI Vault
 
19th HOLE: THE READERS TAKE OVER
March 19, 1956
THE FACTS Sirs: Thank you for your cool, accurate appraisal of the Santee thing (SI, Feb. 27, March 5 & 12). Too much sentimentality, primarily on the part of journalistic sensationalists, has been wafted about over the matter. Again, thanks for printing the facts. STEVE AND DOUG STONE Altadena, Calif.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
March 19, 1956

19th Hole: The Readers Take Over

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue

THE FACTS
Sirs:
Thank you for your cool, accurate appraisal of the Santee thing (SI, Feb. 27, March 5 & 12). Too much sentimentality, primarily on the part of journalistic sensationalists, has been wafted about over the matter. Again, thanks for printing the facts.
STEVE AND DOUG STONE
Altadena, Calif.

A VOICE FROM THE OTHER SIDE
Sirs:
Thanks for your coverage of the Knights of Columbus mile races (SI, March 12). I was one of the very few in the Garden that Saturday who did not go into wild cheering when Santee came on the scene. To me Santee is not now, never has been and never will be the runner he thinks he is. I saw him run in the California meets of last spring, and a more conceited person I have never seen in the world of sports.

I loudly cheered Delany but I am afraid my voice was a bit drowned out by the booing. Once more, thank you for at least giving a report on the other side of the fence.
ALICE GOODWIN
New York

A COMPROMISE
Sirs:
The amateur angle in our athletics is getting weirder all the time. The trouble is, we are trying to compromise and it can't be done. You are either an amateur athlete or you are not. Apparently the only spot on the globe where the simon-pure amateur exists is in the British Isles. You may not accept even 10� for expense money and still be an amateur.

Why not coin a word and call it semi-amateur athletics? A person who is given expense money to participate in a track meet is not, strictly speaking, an amateur; he is not a pro either, because he ostensibly does not make a living by it. He is in between, a semi-amateur.

We now have semi-amateur athletes. The AAU should recognize them as such. If they did, all this controversy about expense money would end, and so would all the hullabaloo about amateur athletics. The Olympics Committee also should certainly recognize the semi-amateur status. They would be foolish not to. The Russians are most assuredly using the semi-amateur status and are getting publicity and prestige by their successes in the Winter Olympics.
KENNETH R. PYATT
San Antonio

NO COMPROMISES ALLOWED
Sirs:
As an ex-college athlete I am much interested in the current dispute between Mr. Santee and the Amateur Athletic Union.

Because the AAU allows payment of perfectly legitimate expenses to athletes competing in sponsored meets, it has gotten itself into two highly uncomfortable hassles. First, by allowing an athletic event to be run by a business organization (the sponsor of the meet), the AAU is in the entertainment and merchandising business. Secondly, by allowing expenses, it has been forced to state, in effect, that all athletes are equal but some are more equal than others. In other words, the stars that pull in the crowds are entitled to more expenses than the little guys who provide the backdrop. How much more expenses is not in the hands of the AAU, but is up to the old law of demand and supply, which certainly has nothing to do with amateur athletics. There is only one Wes Santee, and as long as the AAU allows payments and allows outsiders to run their meets the one and only Wes Santee is worth a lot of money to the promoters, and everyone knows it.

If we believe in the concept of amateur sports, and it seems to me that the country by and large still does, then very plainly we must have an organization that not only lays down the rules but also schedules the events, hires a stadium for them, transports, feeds and houses the competing athletes, supervises the events and sends the boys home again. This the AAU does not do: the AAU is the keeper of the flame of amateurism but leaves the dirty work of organizing athletic events to people who have no interest in, respect for and understanding of its sacred principles.

I suggest that from now on the AAU allows only its own officials to promote meets, pays competing athletes reasonable expenses from the proceeds and allows no one else to meddle in its business.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5